‘Ah Venice‘ – Dr Jones, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
Initially I wanted to give a running commentary on my recent time in Venice. A blow by blow, bridge by bridge account, chaptering each Bond location scouted, chronicling each fresco in the Doges and lending my uneducated and deeply skeptical interpretations of the Tancredi exhibition at the Guggenheim. And that’s exactly what I’ve done, only I’m going to pad it out over more digestible bitesize blogs.
‘Is this guy gunna ditch this fucker in the water?‘ That’s what I thought as our plane neared the runway at the Marco Polo Airport, Venice. If you’ve never been before, you don’t see land until you’ve hit the tarmac. When I felt the thud of the landing wheels connect with the concrete, as Patrick Bateman would say about getting a table booking at Pastels, “… relief that is almost tidal in scope washes over me in an awesome wave.”
I’ve only seen slices of Venice before in films like Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Casino Royale and of course, Moonraker. Our tour guide for the Torre Dell’Orologio (the St Marks Clock Tower) took umbrage with films like Inferno for suggesting there are secret tunnels that run serpentine under the famous museums and cathedrals, intimating a lack of respect for the city. But if any city is susceptible to movie making mythomania, it’s Venice. It looks like something from a film set, each building weathered, rustic, distressed broken-brick, on the piss, on its last legs. Take any building in isolation you could call it a ruin. Put them altogether then it has a magical, almost Capra-esque film like quality. We got utterly lost on the way back to the apartment, but this would turn out to be a recurring theme of the trip.
Get the bus from the airport to the mainland in Venice. It’s €20 return and takes 20 minutes. Apparently free wi-fi on the coach but they want to know everything down to your last sperm count.
We stayed in the Alberghiera Venezia (www.alberghieravenezia.it) because it was a five minute walk from the bus station. If you arrive after 7pm there’s a late check-in fee, of €40 which I thought was harsh but apparently parr for the course. It’s cheap at €180 for three nights, (out of season prices). These go up to €350 a night during peak season. The apartment was plenty big enough, clean, quiet and running hot water. The wi-fi was slow to the point of non-existant. That’s life sometimes.
We ate like Gremlins after midnight at the Al Vecio Bragosso without a booking. A wonderful find, although I should say they don’t open beyond midnight, the Gremlins thing is a reference. Nevermind.